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Business Change Management

Business Change Management

Hate Change? Anthropology Can Make You and Your People Love It!

On Nov 23, 2018 6:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: corporate anthropologist, business change, Culture Change

I often get calls from HR directors who say, "Help! I have a new CEO and he wants me to change the culture." And so I ask, "What's the problem?" And the HR person will say, "I don't really know what our culture is." And my answer to that is, "Well, what would the new CEO like it to become?" And they’ll say, "I'm not sure, but it isn't working so a new culture is what we need." Typically, they just want something different but they don't really know where they're going or how to get there. And they're not alone.

Many clients come to us because the times are changing and they know they have to adapt but they don't know how.

Change is something people hate. The brain hates it. The culture hates it. Organizations hate it. But as corporate anthropologists, we are convinced that what works—yes, really works—to successfully change an organization are the methods, tools and techniques of anthropology

Over and over again, we find that high-performing organizations thrive when they unleash the talent, passion and potential of their people. That has everything to do with building a better culture, and changing a culture for the better is what corporate anthropology is all about. 

To explain the kind of work we do at SAMC to help organizations change, I recently produced this webinar. It will help you understand the pain and challenges of change and why we just hate to do it. Then it will take you through the building blocks needed to change people. I'll touch on a few key concepts here in this blog but to get the full story, you really need to watch the webinar. Just click on the graphic below.
To read the full transcript of the webinar, click here.

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Change Might Be Exactly What Your Organization Needs To Be Successful

On Nov 15, 2018 6:34:51 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: corporate anthropologist, business change, Culture Change

"Continuing to do what’s working is easy. What’s harder is to stop doing the things that aren’t working."

My thoughts exactly. In fact, in a recent Forbes article about how first-time CMOs need to focus on what to keep doing, start doing and sometimes more importantly, stop doing, I'm referenced as saying that just like individuals, fear, habit and hope can keep companies (even the most successful ones) from evolving. 

The article then mentions a previous Forbes blog of mine, "Why We're So Afraid of Change -- And Why That Holds Businesses Back," in which I discuss how so many businesses we work with at SAMC find themselves stuck, experiencing zero growth. The reason? (It's obvious to us but they can't see it.) In the midst of massive change all around them, they insist on using the same outmoded tactics to run their companies while wishing for the old world order to return. Good luck with that.

Beyond fearing change itself, many companies fail to see how the business environment itself is shifting.

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Entrepreneurs Do Customer Research Through Corporate Anthropology

On Oct 26, 2018 10:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: anthropology, corporate anthropologist, Corporate Anthropology, Business Anthropology

Is your company developing a new product or service? Are you planning a product launch? Do you want a better understanding of customer behavior and needs? Finally, are there major pain points which your product or service needs to solve?

Every successful entrepreneur knows that to grow your startup into a thriving business, you need to understand your customer. Easier said than done...particularly when you're about to introduce a new product or service into the market and compiling a group of statistics isn’t an option. That’s when the smartest course of action is to rely on corporate anthropology.

As an entrepreneur building a business, you can gain a crucial competitive advantage by using the methods and techniques of anthropology to help you tap into the behavioral patterns of your consumers. From a customer's first encounter with your product to the purchase stage to their return visit, anthropology enables you to get a better grip on how individuals interact with your brand.

As a result, you'll be able to successfully develop a product offer and a customer experience that meet consumers' demands and solve their challenges. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, here are a few examples of how to successfully apply anthropology to your business.

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Hire Anthropologists! It Might Be Your Smartest Business Move

On Oct 13, 2018 7:27:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: anthropology, corporate anthropologist, Corporate Anthropology, Andrea Simon, business change management, business leadership

Recently I was interviewed by INSIDE Public Accounting on the business applications of corporate anthropology. I will be speaking at IPA's 2018 PRIME Symposium conference, so this interview served as a kind of sneak peek into what I will focus on in the culture change workshop I'll be conducting. (You can read the entire interview here.)

My focus was on the importance of observational research to better understand why people behave the way they do, especially when interacting with a product or service. By observing behaviors, anthropologists are trained to see things people do not always know they are doing. These observations then lead to all types of insights, changes to processes, modifications to services, and even innovations.

Equally important was how these "new" ideas and insights help organizations rethink what they are doing. Often, they can better hone in on their targets because now they have a deeper understanding of their own "ways of doing things" and how well they align (or don't align) with their customers' needs.

Since we know that change is painful, observing with fresh eyes how something is being done can often enable people to better see ways to change those habits. Pretty amazing insights emerge from a little anthropology!

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How Blockchain is Transforming Business, Today!

On Oct 11, 2018 9:16:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: technological innovation, blockchain, block chain, Andrea Simon, corporate anthropologist, Culture Change

Blockchain technology is continuously improving and developing, and it’s here to stay. It might have seen its first application with the advent of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but its real potential lies in its ability to transform the business landscape as we know it.

What's Blockchain, You Ask?

Basically, blockchain is a digital ledger that currently is used to track, record and store transactions on blocks. When applied to business, these same blocks of data have the potential to perform any type of sale, goods exchange, contract, payment, monitoring or recording.

As this technology becomes fine-tuned over the coming decade, companies will start to integrate blockchain more and more into their processes and business relationships. And with so much potential on the horizon, it’s worth taking a look at how exactly blockchain technology can transform business.

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Owners Of Family Businesses Better Have A Good Succession Plan

On Oct 26, 2017 8:45:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Family Firms, Culture Change, corporate anthropologist

Did you know that family-owned firms account for 66% of businesses around the world yet only 16% of them have succession plans? That's a scary thought. 

In the U.S. alone, family firms comprise 80%-90% of all business enterprises, generating 64% of the GNP and employing 62% of the workforce. Clearly, family firms are incredibly important to the global economy, which is why the issue of succession should be approached very intentionally to ensure the ongoing health of these businesses, as I write in a recent article for Daily News.

As a corporate anthropologist, a culture change expert and a daughter raised in a family business, I have a particularly strong interest in helping family firms successfully prepare for their succession.

If you're starting to think about the future of your family business, consider these six steps as you prepare to hand over the reins to the next generation (abridged version...read the full article here).
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Broken Corporate Cultures: Time To Stop Blaming And Start Fixing

On Oct 14, 2016 9:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Andrea Simon, Corporate Anthropology, corporate anthropologist, Corporate Culture

Sadly, more and more these days it seems that there's an epidemic of business leaders refusing to take responsibility for their or their company's actions, passing the buck to whomever they can: employees, the press, a computer glitch, the global economic turnaround...the list goes on.

What has happened to corporate integrity? To the notion of "the buck stops here"?

As a corporate anthropologist, I believe the problem clearly lies in a dysfunctional culture. Every company has its own individual culture, a set of habits, rules and moréssometimes openly communicated, sometimes unspokenthat govern how employees interact and get along. When this culture is faulty, as we are seeing so often these days, employees can easily lost their way.

Our guest blogger, Cheryl McMillanCEO Coach with Vistage International, has written an excellent and very timely blog on the subject, which I share here. Enjoy.

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Is Your Business Stuck? Maybe It Needs a New Corporate Culture!

On Mar 22, 2016 6:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Andrea Simon, Change Management, Culture Change, corporate anthropologist

 Is this how you feel, pushing your business forward? For far too many of our clients, growth has slowed. Maybe even stalled! Gone in the wrong direction? Let me share some of the illustrations and see if they fit your company?

  • One case was a fast growing entrepreneur who found his network shifting to other solutions.
  • A client in the B2B world was watching his competitors get acquired and the roll-ups were better able to buy and supply his clients. Growth was a challenge.
  • After a talk I gave to real estate brokers we heard the endless lament that they weren't growing because of how younger people bought homes.
  • In another case a real estate broker couldn't seem to find new agents.
  • Another was an insurance company that was frustrated that young people weren't getting married in their twenties any longer. So they weren't buying houses and needing insurance. In fact, those Millenials were renting apartments and not even buying cars.

When we looked at the business environments from the outside in, the problem seemed to be with those Millenials or the other solutions or the roll-up consolidations. "Not my problem" was the common retort. 

The solution was going to be hard if we had to change our societal trends. Instead, as corporate anthropologists we suggested that they look at their strategy and business to see if it was time to change their business model, their culture and their strategies.

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